The Washington Post

Joel Ward improving but questionable to face Sabres

Joel Ward missed two straight games after he took a shot by Danny Briere off his foot during the course of the Capitals 2-1 shootout loss last Thursday in Philadelphia. He was back on the ice for the first time since that contest on Monday, though, and didn’t look to be in any discomfort as he took part in a 45-minute practice.

“I feel pretty good just to come off crutches. I’m making progress. Actually a lot better today, better than I thought. Still a little bit of work to do,” said Ward, who was off crutches on Saturday. “I took a heavy shot there. It kind of caught me in the right spot. That was definitely painful, for sure.”

Ward said he wasn’t sure whether he might be ready to face the Sabres on Tuesday night at Verizon Center, but the winger wasn’t willing to rule out the possibility, either.

Ward said that despite some lingering soreness he was pleasantly surprised by how good his foot felt once he warmed up on the ice. He added that he was relieved to find out that the injury wasn’t serious.

“I was a little worried about hopefully [not] a fracture or anything like that,” Ward said. “I kind of got good news from the doc. Ice and the basic routine right now.”

Capitals goaltending prospect Philipp Grubauer is in town to see team doctors about his season-ending wrist injury. According to the The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., Grubauer is scheduled to have surgery this week on his wrist. It’s an unfortunate end to what has been a strong season for the former fourth-round draft pick.

In his first pro season, Grubauer went 23-15-5 with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays with a 2.22 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He was named ECHL rookie of the month in January and goaltender of the month in November.

— Alex Ovechkin was named the NHL’s third star of the week behind Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller. Check out the release here.

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